Reece Oxford: West Ham manager explains England U17 omission

Reece Oxford
Reece Oxford turns 17 in December

West Ham's Reece Oxford was left out of England's Under-17 World Cup squad because of concerns over fatigue, says Hammers manager Slaven Bilic.

Midfielder Oxford, 16, has appeared in three Europa League and three Premier League games this season.

England play their first World Cup match against Guinea in Chile on 17 October, with the final on 8 November.

"Reece is an exceptional talent that we have to nurture. And we need him in the first team," said Bilic.

"We have made a long-term plan for him to not to affect his body and his development. If we let him go for one and a half months or whatever, it's no good."

Oxford captained England when they qualified for the World Cup by beating Spain on penalties in a play-off in May.

Bilic added: "We are trying to sort that situation out with the Football Association and with Reece.

"My opinion is that if he plays, he should play for the Under-21s at least."

Oxford impressed on his Premier League debut as West Ham beat Arsenal on the opening day of the season on 9 August.

He played 79 minutes in that game, was substituted at half-time against Leicester the following week and came on for the final eight minutes against Liverpool on 29 August, his most recent first-team match.

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